Premier League make Newcastle United takeover legal threat to fan group – who describe action as ‘tasteless’

The Premier League have threatened Newcastle Consortium Supporters Ltd with legal action over claims the group leaked details of Newcastle United's takeover arbitration case.

The four-page letter, described by NCSL as 'tasteless', was received by the group on December 23 – just two days before Christmas – sent on behalf of the Premier League by legal representatives Bird & Bird.

Premier League claims centre around what they see as a leak of details about Newcastle United's arbitration case against the top flight, first reported in the Gazette on Tuesday, November 17.

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It is also understood to make reference to the fan group's supposed leaking of information in their push for clarity via MPs.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 19: A general view during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Fulham at St. James Park on December 19, 2020 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images)

The Gazette understands NCSL's legal team strongly refute the Premier League suggestions - and claim it was the top flight themselves who leaked club arbitration details via a letter sent to the group, representing the fans, on Monday, November 16.

The NCSL legal team believe they can also prove the top flight leaked information to the press, with evidence gathered of tweets claiming discussions with 'a Premier League source' hours before the November 17, 5pm release of their statement.

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NCSL threatened legal action against the Premier League over what they see as behaviour that breaches anti-competition laws in the UK in the carrying out of their owners' and directors' test in relation to the stalled Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers bid for the club.

The Premier League responded to the group's Letter Before Action, sent on November 4, on November 16.

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Information of the letter was shared with the press – via the Gazette – the following day.

“It’s surreal that two ordinary fans can create such a reaction from a clearly rattled EPL," said Keith Patterson, of NCSL.

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"Bird & Bird leaked information of their legal fight with Newcastle United to us in a letter and the following day 10 social media posts leaked information in an attempt to rubbish our action. NCSL went to the press three hours later to update fans.

"These latest threats are tasteless, untimely but typical of an organisation that has no regard for football fans."

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Patterson says the group won't be intimidated in their fight for Premier League transparency.

"We will not be deterred in any way," he said.

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"We will keep pressing the MPs as clearly the Premier League do not like transparency and cling on to confidentiality only when it suits.

"This isn’t an attack on two football fans, it’s a misjudged attack on the '100,000+ fans' you quote in your letter who will return in 2021 with a renewed vigour and determination to make this takeover a matter of public interest.”

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When contacted by the Gazette, the Premier League refused to comment.

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